Terry Gibson's La Liga Betting: Barcelona Breaking More Records As Neville's Valencia Win AGAIN


Valencia v Athletic Bilbao – Saturday 15:00 GMT

A welcome return to form by Valencia has seen them pick up three wins in a week and has taken the pressure off Gary Neville. He and Valencia are able now to go about their work away from the spotlight.

It would have been a huge relief all round that they defeated Espanyol, Rapid Vienna and then Granada in the space of seven days and, most importantly, it dragged them away from the relegation zone and ensured their progress into the next round of the Europa League.

There are tougher fixtures ahead though and to be honest those thre wins are what we would normally expect from a regular Valencia team. I have been saying that though for the majority of their fixtures during that 12 game winless run!

They have home advantage in their favour against Athletic Bilbao and they also have had the advantage of fulfilling a fixture in Vienna rather than having had to compete like Athletic, who faced Marseille with a slim 1-0 lead at San Mames on Thursday evening with the tie very much still in the balance.

A lot depends on how Gary Neville can motivate the players in La Liga between now and the end of the season, as it's hard to find any realistic targets for them to focus on, other than to just win football matches and avoid criticism. They are now 10 points clear of relegation and are 7 away from Celta Vigo and the last remaining Europa League spot for next season.  With another couple of quick wins perhaps the Europa League spot might still just be attainable.

Athletic go into the game without a win in three, two defeats and a draw, which has put paid to any hopes of catching Villarreal and a possible Champions League place but they are four points better off than Valencia in terms of catching Celta. They lost the Basque Derby last week at home to Real Sociedad, which suggests to me that they are having trouble squad wise in dealing with combining La Liga and Europa League fixtures.

Ińaki Williams is the latest casualty of Athletic's tough season and will be missing for the next few weeks after picking up a knee injury against Real Sociedad. It is no surprise that Athletic are now showing signs of suffering though as the game against Valencia will be their 46th game this season!

This is still a tough one to call, there isn't a team with more pride in La Liga than Athletic and they will show great spirit in what is a very attractive fixture. I also believe there is room for improvement from Valencia in terms of defending, as they have been fortunate in the last two La Liga games not to have conceded more than just the one in each game and Athletic are a far better team than either Espanyol or Granada.

I'm just leaning towards a fresher and more confident Valencia though and I'm going for a 2-1 home victory. Paco Alcacer is looking particularly sharp at the moment after his injury and he will be going all out to impress Del Bosque between now and the end of the season in an attempt to win a place in the Spain squad that goes to the Euro's. He will in this game be up against one of his competitors in Aritz Aduriz and their shootout could be decisive.

Terry’s Tip

Valencia 2-1 Athletic Bilbao 10.00

Paco Alcacer to score 3.10

 

Barcelona v Sevilla – Sunday 19:30 GMT

Despite Barcelona almost running away with the La Liga title and riding high after a good win at Arsenal I don't expect any complacency at the weekend when they face a Sevilla side that are winless away from home.

Motivation will be high for Luis Enrique's team as they look to equal yet another record. The record in question is to match an all-time high of undefeated matches by a Spanish team. The record, unsurprisingly, is held by Real Madrid. It goes back to the 1988-89 season when Leo Beenhakker's team, with the famous Quinta del Butre at their heart, went 34 games undefeated in all competitons.

This is why I anticipate a fully fired up Barcelona this weekend. Also we must not forget it is a chance to stamp home superiority, as this is a rehearsal for the Copa del Rey final when the two teams meet up again on the 22nd of May.

Mind you, I wonder if fate has a part to play in this game?

The last team to beat Barcelona were Sevilla. That was back on the 3rd of October in the Sanchez Pizjuan but Sevilla are still one of only two teams in La Liga to yet register a win away from home, so surely it is too much to expect them to do the double over Barcelona?

It is incredibly difficult to understand how Sevilla have failed away from home this season. They did get off to a slow start in general, including defeats in their opening two home games of the season against Atletico and Celta but since then they have won 11 home games on the trot, and that includes wins over both Barca and Real Madrid!

Away from home they have played 12 and have only gained eight points with eight draws and four defeats. They have 41 points in total, with 33 from home games and eight away. It's such a contrast in form and is quiet baffling. Their away form shows that they are hard to beat but not decisive enough to actually win a game, and last week they were 2-0 up at Rayo Vallecano after 20 minutes but still only drew as Rayo stormed back to level at 2-2. 

I believe therefore it's too much to expect for Sevilla to break their duck this season at The Nou Camp and win there for the first time since 2002.

I'm expecting a tough physical game - that is how Sevilla will try to play it - but Barcelona to prevail by three goals to one.

Terry’s Tip

Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla 10.50